Dana’s Story

A BRIEF BACKSTORY

The concept of Kintsukuroi is deeply meaningful to me, as I’ve spent most of my life in poor health. For the past nine years, I relentlessly searched for solutions and tried to keep hope alive as yet-undiagnosed chronic Lyme disease and complications of Common Variable Immunodeficiency and Mast Cell Activation Disease (an immune system that is simultaneously deficient and attacking my own tissues) slowly ravaged my entire body with indescribable pain and robbed me of my ability to move and speak. My healing quest has involved upwards of 70 doctors, hundreds of failed medications, supplements, allopathic, holistic and alternative treatments.

During this time I also required three life threatening abdominal surgeries that involved years of rehabilitation. When I was first getting used to the large scar on my abdomen (now accompanied by eight small surrounding scars), my prognosis was extremely bad. I was told that all of my organs and bodily systems would likely shut down one by one until my heart eventually gave out. By 2013, at the age of 33, the most prestigious hospitals in the country advised me to simply load myself with morphine and wait to die.

HOW THE KINTSUKUROI BOOK IDEA CAME ABOUT

This advice, while devastating at first, sparked a massive sea change within me. I was overwhelmingly inspired to disencumber myself of those grim predictions and immerse myself in a whole new story: one that allows for hope, and grants my challenging experiences inherent purpose and value regardless of what my body is doing, or cannot do, at any given time. I refused to simply be branded as a body waiting to expire (and here I am, years later!). I recognized that I am a soul with an invaluable empathic window into the depths of human suffering; with insatiable curiosity, much to say, creativity to manifest, a deep desire to grow, and boundless love to give. I swore I would rock these scars and never feel ashamed of that which made me who I am. I began to reframe my wounds, reclaim my path, and rejoice in the depth, richness and triumph of being Kintsukuroi…more beautiful for having been broken.

And now, having experienced what this shift in consciousness has done for me, I want to do my best to inspire others to adopt this philosophy for themselves.

THE PROBLEM

Medicine in our culture is reductionist, isolating and often dehumanizing, but by nature we are relational beings. We possess an innate desire to be part of a grand cosmic picture, to contextualize our suffering in a way that illuminates significance and meaning. Our society has gained the technical skills to heal physical wounds, but we’ve lost the context and connection of personal mythology.

THE HEALING POWER OF STORY

During my bedbound years, I kept my spirit alive with a constant influx of information about art, quantum physics, meditation, theories of consciousness, shamanism, archetypes, mythology, depth psychology, narrative therapy, and mind-body-spirit healing practices used around the world. Along the way I learned a great deal about the alchemical power of story. Although we cannot always change the events in our lives, we can change our orientation to them and the narratives we construct that define our relationship to the unchangeable.

Everybody’s scars tell the tale of a mythical Hero’s Journey; a descent into an underworld full of secrets and wisdom. The marks (physical and emotional) we bear that our society deems “imperfect” often commemorate great feats of courage, warrior-like dedication, leaps of personal enlightenment, and miraculous survival stories. The mission of Kintsukuroi is to honor these stories through art and narrative, and encourage people to embrace their own power and agency.

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